A bill called the “Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act” is headed to the governor’s desk. The state senate passed the bill yesterday by a vote of 21 to 10. It had already passed the Assembly 67 to 8.
If it becomes law, people who call 911 to report a drug overdose would be protected against arrest or prosecution. The same protection extends to the drug users.
One of the sponsors of the assembly version of the bill is Democratic Assemblyman Tom Giblin (D-34). He sat down with Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor to speak about the bill which he says will save lives.
Giblin credited his assembly colleague Connie Wagner (D-38) as the initial sponsor of the legislation.
“She had several of her colleagues including myself to be co-prime sponsors,” said Giblin. “It’s a bipartisan measure in the assembly. It was the same way also in the senate and both houses have passed this measure.”
According to Giblin, the bill is part of an effort to stem the tide of drug-related deaths, many of which involve young people experimenting with drugs in a group situation.
“A lot of times, this is done with other individuals … at a party or something like that and people aren’t paying attention. The next thing, they see somebody who’s experiencing some type of medical trauma and the right thing to do is call the police or the emergency, get that individual taken to a hospital or medical facility and basically save their life.”
The bill now awaits the governor’s approval. Giblin revealed his own apprehension when he was first presented with the proposal but had a change of heart listening to the different scenarios and cases of drug overdose cases leading to death.
“I thought that the benefits outweigh the small disadvantage and that’s something I would encourage that [the] administration carefully look at this legislation and ask the governor to sign it.”
He said he hopes the law will change the negative perception of reporting drug cases so that people are encouraged to get hep immediately when an individual becomes affected by overdose or any type of coma from drug use.
“You got to change public perception that you’re not a snitch and you’re handing somebody up if they know they have some safety in terms of criminal immunity.”